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What is clarithromycin?

Clarithromycin (also called Biaxin®) is used to prevent or treat infections. It is available in the following strengths; all are taken by mouth:

  • a 250 mg tablet
  • a 500 mg tablet
  • a 500 mg (XL) extended-release tablet
  • a 25 mg/mL liquid suspension

How to take and store clarithromycin

  • You may take all forms of clarithromycin except the extended-release (XL) tablets with or without food. If you have stomach pain, take clarithromycin with food.
  • The clarithromycin extended-release tablets (XL) are taken one time a day with food.
  • Store all tablets at room temperature in dry place.
  • Shake the liquid well before you take it. Use an oral syringe or medicine cup to be sure you are taking the correct amount.
  • Store the liquid medicine at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
  • Discard the liquid medicine after 14 days or on the expiration date printed on the label.

Possible side effects of clarithromycin

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Changed taste
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Indigestion

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 901-595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for clarithromycin

  • Before taking clarithromycin, tell your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to erythromycin. If allergy signs occur, tell your doctor right away. Signs of an allergic reaction include rash, itching, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.
  • While taking clarithromycin, if you have severe or watery diarrhea, tell your doctor right away.
  • Finish all doses of this medicine as instructed by your doctor, even if you think your condition is better. Do not stop taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you to do so.
  • Clarithromycin may affect the way other medicines work. These medicines include warfarin, theophylline, cyclosporine, phenytoin, carbamazepine, ranitidine, omeprazole, triazolam, astemizole, ergotamine, ritonavir, zidovudine, fluconazole, valproic acid, and digoxin.
  • Always tell your doctor if you are taking these medicines or if you start taking any new medicine while taking clarithromycin.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).